Suns New Virtualization Manager Supports Windows, Linux

New hypervisor and management tools will be released to the open-source community, CEO Schwartz promises.

SAN FRANCISCO—Sun Microsystems, joining a growing group of companies that are building their own virtualization software, has launched a new virtualization and management platform designed for the data center of the future.

Suns xVM is a Solaris-based version of XenSources Linux-based, open-source hypervisor. The new software package, introduced by CEO Jonathan Schwartz in an OpenWorld keynote address on Nov. 14 and previewed to the press last month, comprises Suns virtualization hypervisor, xVM Server and a virtualization management tool, Sun xVM Ops Centre.

xVM can virtualize and manage mixed environments running platform software from the Java, OpenSolaris and Linux software communities, along with Microsoft Windows and across Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM and Sun hardware. The entire package will be released to the open-source community, Schwartz said.

xVM, which stands for "the intersection of virtualization and management," is designed to allow x86 servers to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single computer, enabling increased flexibility and data center efficiency for IT administrators.

Oracle, Microsoft and several other big-name IT companies have come forward in the last few months with their own virtualization products.

"This is all about making the so-called next-generation data center as efficient as possible," Sun Vice President of Software Rich Green, on stage with Schwartz, told the audience at Moscone Center here.

"Virtualization is just beginning, as evidenced by VMwares performance in the market," Green said. "We look at VM as a wide range of technologies. In the next five years, its hard to imagine any IT company that would deploy their architecture without VM."

Green said the key task virtualization solves is how a guest operating system views the data center.

"The hypervisor is the window through which applications view the entire data center," Green said. "Its important to focus on the management of the virtual environment, as opposed to the substrate, in building the data centers of the future."

In the address, Schwartz reminded the audience that Sun has signed partnership deals with such "co-opetitive" companies as Microsoft, HP and IBM to run Suns bread-and-butter Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems and Java networking software across their hardware.


Oracle plans to distribute free server virtualization software. Read more here.

"The world clearly recognizes that the move to free and open-source software has led to savings, efficiency and competition," Schwartz said. "Virtualization presents an equivalently compelling opportunity—but its a move not without risk.

"Customers tell us the last thing they want is a proprietary vendor at the core of their next-generation data center architectures," he said. "Sun xVM moves beyond server consolidation, recognizing that virtualization must encompass all data center assets, from the network and storage to applications and hardware provisioning, while eliminating the risk of proprietary dependency," he said.

Sun has named Vice President of xVM Steve Wilson to run a new division of the company that will develop and market the platform.

The xVM software is available for download now at the new community Web site,, Wilson said.


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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...